Understanding Plastic Surgery

Bhubaneswar: Every year the National Plastic Surgery Day is observed on July 15 with the primary objective of creating awareness among the public about its importance in today’s world. Despite the tremendous advancements made in the field of plastic surgery, the knowledge about it appears to be limited in the public domain. Even many from among medical professionals don’t have much knowledge about the whole spectrum of this field.

Plastic surgery, as a medical specialty, is poorly understood because unlike other medical disciplines plastic surgery is not defined by an anatomic area (like Ophthalmology, ENT, Thoracic Surgery) or organ system (like Gastroenterology, urology) or patient age group (Paediatrics, Adolescent Medicine, Geriatrics). It deals with everything from head to toe but is associated with the prefix plastic which is not properly understood by the common man and the medical community at large. It is supposed to be the oldest specialty in medical science as Acharya Sushruta was the first surgeon in the world to do rhinoplasty in 600 BC.

Most people always equate this with cosmetic surgery. Many of them think that plastic materials are involved in it. Actually the name ‘plastic surgery’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plasticos’ which means to mould something. Therefore, plastic surgery is defined as the reconstruction of defect and deformities in the body to restore functions. It comprises of three sub-specialities – burns, reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery.

Burns deal with the management of acute burns and also the correction of post-burn scar or contracture or deformities. Reconstructive surgery is a broad field which includes reconstruction of defect/wound arising from Road Traffic Accident (RTA), infections like diabetic foot/bedsore, birth anomalies or cancer ablation surgery. Cosmetic surgery or aesthetic surgery is an upcoming specialty which deals with the enhancement of the beauty of a person by surgery based on the principle of plastic surgery. It covers many procedures starting from the top of head to tip of toes. Majority of it include hair transplantation, Blepharoplasty (eyelid), Rhinoplasty (nose), Face and Neck lift, Breast augmentation/lift/reduction in females, male breast reduction (Gynaecomastia), Liposuction (body contouring by fat removal), Abdominoplasty and Genital rejuvenation.

It is supposed to be most sought after procedure for professionals working in the film or media industry. It definitely boosts the confidence of a person. Plastic surgery specialty is supposed to be a very challenging specialty in medical science because the result is visible to the patient as well as the public. Moreover, the expectations of people are very high. They always dream of a result which should be natural, scarless with normal function. Counselling of patients regarding the nature of the surgery and its final outcome is very important to avoid both dissatisfaction and disaster.


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